Hello all–boy, “things” are gaining momentum! One interview for next week–three probables in the wings. Just chatting with prospective clients I am told AMAZING stories–ones that just send that shiver of excitement up my spine and straight to my brain! One man told me of working for a well known Mafia guy when he grew up in NY. Shaking hands with Babe Ruth…NOT shaking hands with Werner Von Braun, etc. History and, name dropping BIG names from history–I find it thrilling, and to get the stories recorded and preserved, incredibly fulfilling. THAT’S why I’m doing this! And, again…why not you? Give me a call.
Regards from youthestoryteller.com—it’s been a few weeks since I’ve dropped a line to you—“catching up” is always interesting because it does promote a certain amount of introspection about where one is in regards to the “process”—in this case, my business, youthestoryteller.
One thing for sure—I’ve learned something from every single interview I’ve conducted—whether it be technical issues concerning my equipment or hearing the shared memories from one of my clients, it has been truly, an education. I love that.
An unexpected part of my work is conveying to people that contrary to what they may think, they indeed do have an interesting life. If only for the fact that like you and I, they all have lived through an amazing time. As a personal historian, I’m looking to ask questions about an individual’s life—their personal thoughts and feelings. Those personal impressions are certainly a big part of what I seek to bring out in my interviews.
But, along with that, I like to talk to my clients about their impressions concerning what Henry Luce of TIME referred to as “The American Century”—the 20th century. From the Depression, World War 2, Elvis, Viet Nam, man on the moon,The Beatles to…well, I could go on and on. But, it certainly has been a time! Arguably, we have witnessed the apex of the American Dream, and are now witnessing everything that comes after. I would be remiss if I did not ask clients their impressions of these fascinating times we’ve lived through, and, as they tell their individual tales about their/our times, those tales often beautifully illustrate just how connected we all are to each other—how strongly the personal is linked to the universal, how recognition of one’s connection to the world is so wonderfully confirmed by the simple telling of tales.
Last thought. I approached an older man I know and asked him if he had had an interesting life. “Oh, yes,” he said, if only because when I was 12 years years old, I stood outside my house and watched the Japanese fighter planes fly over my house heading for Pearl Harbor.” They were so close, he added, that I could see they pilots faces!” Well…I about fell out of my chair! THAT’S the stuff I’m after! History is not an out of body experience. We ALL live it!
As I’ve been in the process of getting my venture, ‘You,The Storyteller, up and running, I’ve been thinking about just who my target audience is. What a personal history interview will mean to them. Obviously, my thoughts turn more often than not to what I like to call “veteran human beings”—people who have been around for awhile. They have, literally, a life time of memories and stories to grab onto, and seem to be my natural constituency.
Over the course of the past three weeks, I have sat down with my neighbor, Lorraine, to interview her for You,The Storyteller. Lorraine proved herself to be an excellent first subject for an oral history interview— enthusiastic, well spoken and eyes bright as she spoke of her life, beginning in Kentucky in 1921 to the present here in our hometown of Cambria, CA.
Beginning my work in the field of personal history has already led to some interesting revelations for me. I’ve always felt comfortable talking with people, and I pride myself in being a good listener—really, the art of knowing when to talk, and when not to. But beyond the oral history interview facet of You The Storyteller, I find myself increasingly interested in the Ethical Will aspect of my work as a Personal Historian, and I think I know why.
I take history very personally. Maybe the subject never appealed to you—or maybe, you just couldn’t see the relevance of any of it to you, or you to it. But, I believe, like it or not, that we are part of history—as surely as we breathe air, we are part of this grand adventure.